New State Landlord-Tenant Laws Now in Effect

Posted By: Sean Martin (deleted) Government, Announcements, Law, Management,

Effective July 28, 2019, several new landlord-tenant laws took effect which have a direct impact on how rental owners manage their properties and resolve issues with renters. Click the following links to read the bills in full detail:

Pay or Vacate Notice changes from 3 to 14 days (SB 5600)

SB 5600 increases the “3 day” pay or vacate notices to 14 days so that tenants will have an extended time-frame to come up with rent and you will have to wait two weeks to begin the eviction process.

It also re-defines rent to include all recurring charges, which now includes utilities, parking, and storage fees. Several changes were made to the RHAWA rental agreement to reflect this new definition. The bill also requires that all payments must be applied to rent, first.

All RHAWA lease agreements have been modified to accommodate the changes in this law, and a new "Addendum to Lease Terms" has also been created to enable owners to update their agreements with existing renters.

Military Clause Addendum (HB 1138)

HB 1138 changes and clarifies the conditions where Service Members can terminate rental agreements early or upon less than the required 20 day notice. The required notice for a Service Member to terminate a term lease changes from “7 days after receiving orders” to “at least 20 days” prior to the next rental period.

Rent / Fee Increase Notice (HB 1440)

HB 1440 increases the time-frame to raise rent to 60 days prior to the new rental period, no matter how small or large the increase. The law provides a narrow exception that only impacts federal housing. This notice is required for any increase to base rent as well as other recurring fees, which are now defined as rent. With this change, other local ordinances have been superseded, and versions of the RHAWA rent increase notice specific to particular cities are no longer necessary.

Termination of Tenancy – 120 Days (HB 1462)

HB 1462 requires a 120-day notification to terminate any tenancy due to demolition, substantial renovation requiring a permit or change of use (e.g., senior care home, student housing, short term rental, etc.) of any rental property.

An exception is granted If the owner or immediate family member wants to make it their primary residence, this is not considered change of use and 20-day termination notice is acceptable. RHAWA has created a new form for this situation.

Several other RHAWA forms were modified to accommodate these changes in law, including all of our lease/rental agreements, the 20 Day Termination of Tenancy Notice, the Seattle Termination of Tenancy Notice, and the Tacoma Termination of Tenancy Notice.

RHAWA members are strongly advised to ensure they're using the most up-to-date forms by accessing our forms via the RHAWA website.